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Kenya is now the cheapest country to purchase diesel in Eastern Africa

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Kenya is now the cheapest country to purchase diesel in Eastern Africa

Culled from Businessdailyafrica

By John Mutua

 

SUMMARY

  • A litre of the commodity costs Sh112.63 on average in Kenya, compared to Sh118.44, Sh139.08 and Sh149.91 in three of the six East African Community countries, Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi, respectively.
  • This bucks a trend where Kenya has had the costliest super petrol and diesel in the region mainly due to relatively high taxes and levies.
  • The shift in the market structure is linked to the introduction of monthly subsidies in Kenya, which cut the current diesel prices by Sh23.29 a litre.

Diesel prices in Kenya are the lowest in eastern Africa in the wake of the monthly subsidy, reversing the market structure that made the country’s fuel the most costly in the region.

A litre of the commodity costs Sh112.63 on average in Kenya, compared to Sh118.44, Sh139.08 and Sh149.91 in three of the six East African Community countries, Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi, respectively.

This bucks a trend where Kenya has had the costliest super petrol and diesel in the region mainly due to relatively high taxes and levies, which encourage local motorists in border towns to fuel in the neighbouring countries.

The shift in the market structure is linked to the introduction of monthly subsidies in Kenya, which cut the current diesel prices by Sh23.29 a litre.

“The big difference is mainly attributed to the subsidy that the government has been using,” said an official at the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra).

Kenya introduced the subsidy on April 14 last year as part of efforts to defuse simmering public anger over the high cost of basic items.

The subsidy has kept pump prices unchanged for the fourth month in a row despite a jump in the cost of shipping the refined fuel.

It is supported by billions of shillings raised from fuel consumers through the petroleum development levy, which was increased to Sh5.40 a litre in July 2020 from Sh0.40, a 1,250 percent rise.

The fund cushions consumers from volatility in fuel prices but has also seen motorists lose out when paying the Sh5.40 for a litre at the pump.

Tanzania is the only country in the region with cheaper super petrol than Kenya, according to the pricing list on GlobalPetrolPrices.com — a site that tracks fuel prices globally.

A litre of super petrol is averaging Sh131.63 in Kenya while in Tanzania it is going for Sh125.2. Uganda has the costliest super petrol in the region at Sh158.1 per litre followed by Burundi at Sh152.85.

In September last year, Kenya had the most expensive super petrol in the region at Sh134.72 per litre, while the commodity retailed at Sh131 in Uganda. It was the cheapest in Tanzania at Sh115.26. The relatively high cost in Kenya was linked to taxes and levies.

There are seven levies and two taxes that Epra takes into account when setting fuel prices, which have been blamed for the high cost of petroleum products. The levies accounted for nearly half of current petrol costs, shifting the spotlight to taxation of petroleum products.

Tanzania scrapped a Sh4.90 ($0.043) levy charged per litre of fuel in a bid to lower fuel prices from the start of this month.

Kenya’s fuel subsidy has been crippled in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine war that pushed crude oil prices to levels seen more than 10 years ago.

Government sources say the Treasury will struggle to pay oil marketers more than Sh25 billion over the next two months to keep pump prices unchanged despite a jump in the cost of shipping the commodity.

The current fuel being consumed in Kenya is based on the average crude oil prices of $82.03 a barrel, and the monthly review set for next Tuesday at $92.

Oil prices have jumped more than 30 per cent since 24 February, touching $139 a barrel at one point this week.

The oil price had fallen back to about $106 a barrel at one point on Wednesday, but by Thursday morning it was trading at around $116.

Officials at the energy regulator Epra reckon that the Treasury would require at least Sh10 billion this month and another Sh15 billion in April to compensate oil marketers and keep local pump prices unchanged.

With the fund supporting the subsidy exhausted, the Treasury will struggle to pay the marketers billions of shillings at a time when it’s faced with rising spending pressure from critical items like the August General Election and Covid-19 vaccines.

jmutua@ke.nationmedia.com

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AfDB to sponsor Rwanda’s African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) says it will be sponsoring Rwanda’s venture to host the new African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation.

The venture is expected boost the continent’s access to technology in manufacturing medicines and vaccines.

AfDB President Dr Akinwumi Adesina said the project includes “revamping Africa’s pharmaceutical industry, building Africa’s vaccine manufacturing capacity, and building Africa’s quality healthcare infrastructure.

“Even with the decision of the Trips waiver at the World Trade Organization (WTO), millions are dying -and will most likely continue to die – from lack of vaccines and effective protection,” Dr Adesina said.

Meanwhile the venture has drawn commendation from players. The Director-General of the World Trade Organization, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, remarked that the project “provides part of the infrastructure needed to assure an emergent pharmaceutical industry in Africa.”

Africa is short of pharmaceutical companies that fits its population size. The continent is currently home to about 375 pharmaceutical firms, which produce less than 25 percent of the needed products annually, forcing the countries to import vastly to meet demand.

This dependence on imports leaves citizens vulnerable to shortages of medication — a problem that triggered a continent-wide crisis during the pandemic.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, small pharmacies and large medical stores in Rwanda ran out of stock. In South Africa, it became nearly impossible to fill prescriptions for psychiatric drugs and oral contraceptives. In Kenya, oncologists complained about challenges treating their cancer patients. And in Nigeria, stocks of treatments to manage chronic illnesses, including HIV medicines, dipped critically low.

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Farmers lament as wild fire, heat waves cut grain harvest in Tunisia

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Farmers union in Tunisia has forecasted that output will fall well short of government hopes following heat waves and fires that are badly damaging the country’s grain harvest.

Farmers union official Mohamed Rejaibia, pointing to fires that began raging over much of the country last month, said that was no longer possible.

“The grain harvest will not be more than 1.4 million tonnes,” said Rejaibia, a member of the union’s executive office. “Some of it will be lost to fires and some perhaps during collection.”

The North African country has struggled with food importation costs driven higher by the war in Ukraine. That is largely because Ukraine and Russia account for a great amount of the global supply for grains, particularly wheat.

Earlier this month, agriculture minister, Mhamoud Elyess Hamza forecasted the 2022 grain harvest would reach 1.8 million tonnes, that is 10% up from last year’s harvest.

Wild fire has had a devastating effect in Tunisia. According to a statement released by the Tunisian Federation of Insurance Companies (FTUSA), the insurance industry in the country paid fire insurance claims totalling TND25m ($8m) in 2015 and the quantum jumped over the years to TND107m in 2020. That represented an average increase over 30% a year.

Another farmer, Abderraouf Arfaoui, in Krib, revealed that most of his colleagues had to harvest their grains earlier than usual.

“Usually we begin the harvest season in July, but this year we started on June 18… we are afraid of fires. We must watch our land day and night.

“We must harvest without waiting, even if that reduces the quantity and quality of the wheat, and when we finish the harvest we must watch our haystacks, too.”

 According to Thinkhazard, wildfire hazard is classified as high with more than a 50% chance of encountering weather that could support a significant wildfire that is likely to result in both life and property loss in any given year.

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